My Monthly Inspiration

I don’t know what keeps you motivated or your creative juices flowing especially with todays technology and social media, they can become real distractions, throw in kids, paying bills and this little old thing called life gets in the way of you getting out there and creating something regardless if its a photograph or a clay sculpture, and some of these things can literally put you on the side line resulting in you becoming an observer of whats going on around you instead of a contributor.

So to avoid this I like to try and give myself an assignment at the beginning of every month, something that I will hopefully be able to complete within that month with all of life’s distractions around me. Sometimes that assignment can be updating this blog, revamping my website or photographing a certain subject. This month was inspired by a photograph that really grabbed my attention as it

was full of colour and looked simple enough to achieve. This assignment did however have some challenges not only creatively but finding the time to actually get it done within the month especially with Christmas fast approaching.

I wish I could remember where I saw the original photo that gave me the inspiration for this assignment, it may have been on Google+ and there is loads of inspiraton on there as well, its like having the worlds photographers walk past your door.  The original photo that I saw had three bottles of brightly coloured nail polish pouring out on to a mirror forming a neat pool at the base of the bottles.

I figured that if I wanted to do this I should try and do the shoot as cheap as possible because I had no idea if it would work or not, So I went in search of what I figured I would need to do the shoot. In my local hardware store I found a full length mirror for $10 which had a poor plastic border that I could remove with ease and at my local pharmacy I found a bargain bin full of cheap, brightly coloured nail polish bottles. The sales staff certainly had a laugh at my expense as I mumbled ‘wheres the blue nail polish?’ whilst rifling through it like a mad man. The sales girl certainly had a smirk on her face when I was forking out my four dollars. I did try to explain what I intended to do but I am pretty sure that she didn’t buy it and now thinks I’m crazy every time I go in there.

I needed a black back ground and for this I simply opened the garage roller door and faced out into the night. I removed the plastic border from the mirror and put it on a small table that I had laying around. Then came the hard part, originally I decided that I would glue the bottles of nail polish to the mirror and each other so they would be uniform and wouldn’t move when I tilted the mirror towards me.  The issue that I had was that I purchased extremely cheap super glue and it had done as promised on the package, hardened before I could use it so I reverted to the old sticky tape method.

Once the nail polish bottles were stuck to the mirror using my ever so cheap sticky tape, I took a few test shots with the lids still on so I could get the exposure right and adjusted the flash gun into a good position so I could get a uniformed fill of flash across the shot. I was happy and decided that it was time to remove the lids and use a small wedge under the mirror to tilt it forward. This is when I realised that the square lids on the bottles wouldn’t come off while they were stuck down, so I had to remove them completely, re stick them back down, tilt the mirror backwards and away from me so the nail polish wouldn’t run out while I was trying to focus and compose the shot.

The next issue that I found was that once I started to tilt the mirror forward by jamming pens which acted as small wedges under neath the mirror the nail polish started to run very quickly and I had to act fast. I don’t know if it wad cheap nail polish or because it was hot and humid at the time but slowly down the flow was problematic. After thinking about it, possibly putting them in the fridge may have increased the consistency of the nail polish and slowed the flow down to a more acceptable flow rate.

Once I was happy with the 20 or so shots, I decided that I wanted to change some of the colours around to change the dynamics of the photo overall.

I changed the red nail polish for the white nail polish which meant that I had to go through the entire set up process again. I did find that the white nail polish ran very quickly and spread across the mirror almost uncontrollably, I added colour to it by getting the red nail polish and pouring it out directly into the white nail polish . I got another 20 or shots and decided that it was time to download these photos to see what I had and if I had achieved what I set out to do.

I don’t use Photoshop at all, in fact I have no idea how to use it. I use Aperture 3 so what ever I get wrong I must be able to either clone it out or repair it some how using contrast or Dodge and Burn.  So everything I do, I try and do in camera by setting up the shot first. as you can see by the two photos the first one I haven’t cloned out the dust on the mirror nor the edge of the mirror that has shown because of the flash, and there is drops of nail polish in the corner as well. I also had to clone out the flash reflection in one of the bottles of nail polish which proved to be a little difficult. The second shot is one that I have processed using Aperture 3 and removed all of the blemishes from it to provide an overall clean image which is what I had wanted to achieve.

The third shot is one that I am also happy with as well, here you can see that the white nail polish has run pretty quick and the bottle is half empty. I did pour in some red nail polish as well to increase the contrasting colours. Overall I was happy with what I had created and I did enjoy doing this as I learnt a lot from it all. All I need to do now is find a new pharmacy where I don’t get strange looks and hushed giggles from the sales staff.

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